Learning Word Roots Activities and Printables

Writer’s Workshop is a writing program for your whole family, from emergent writers right up to Mom and Dad. Try it with all of your kids.

Word Work Cover

This exercise is from Writer’s Workshop Word Work, the spelling and vocabulary component that is meant to be used alongside any of the writing units. In Writer’s Workshop Word Work, you’ll focus on mastering words as a writer in just a few minutes each day, using a variety of hands-on and bodily-kinesthetic activities to help solidify the knowledge. Specifically, you’ll focus on spelling and vocabulary so you can incorporate the words you master into your writing. The program includes spelling lists, word roots, and big vocabulary words to master, plus printables and activities.

Word Work

Mastering words is something we continue to do throughout our lives. Mastery is best done in small and consistent doses, so work on Word Work for a few minutes each day before having your mini-lesson and exercise from one of the Writer’s Workshop units. Never let Word Work overshadow the more important work you do of writing. Spelling and vocabulary are only a tiny part of writing, so keep Word Work in its place as a wonderful tool, but not the end goal of your Writer’s Workshop.

Vocabulary and Word Roots

Our vocabulary studies center around root words because they are so valuable in understanding lots of words as you learn to spot the root meanings.  Over 60 percent of the words kids encounter have some recognizable word parts. Kids who understand these parts automatically understand much more of what they read.  

Depending on the ages of your kids, you can learn between one and ten roots per week. Throughout the week, play with the roots in fun ways, becoming familiar with many of the words that are created from the roots. You’ll find lists of common roots and their definitions right in the Word Work unit, along with fun activities and printables to help your kids master them.

Here are just three of the many ways we practice learning roots and vocabulary within Writer’s Workshop Word Work.


Write cinquains using our root-based vocabulary words.  You can use the printable to teach this simply.

Vocabulary cinquains

Root Flowers

Make a root flower chart.  Again, a cool printable to help solidify those root meanings and attach them to the words we use.

Root Flowers: for learning word roots. Click on the image to get the printable.

Word Root Organizers

Create Word Root Organizers using this printable.  

Root word organizer

We only spend a few minutes a day, never more than ten, but we are expanding our vocabularies by leaps and bounds!

You can learn more about Word Work and how to dovetail it into your daily writing in the Writer’s Workshop Guidebook.

What You’ll Find in Every Writer’s Workshop Unit


You’ll find printables in every Writer’s Workshop unit. They are tools for helping kids learn the writing process, skills, and ways to write in specific genres. They make lessons in a family-school setting a little more manageable for parents too.

Ideas Banks

In each unit, kids will be doing a variety of writing exercises as well as one project. They will learn to take their project through the writing process, incorporating what they’ve learned during the exercises. Each unit has a big idea bank for kids to look at and choose what they want to write about.


Every unit also includes a rubric to help parents or mentors know how to give feedback that will help writers grow. Rubrics are tools writers can use to self-check and mentors can use to know what to look for in each writing genre. We never just slap a grade on writing. Every bit of feedback is a tool to improve and grow.

More Writer’s Workshop

Writer's Workshop Category

Learn more about Writer’s Workshop and how it can help you create writers (not just grammar workbook filler-outers!). We invite you to check out the Writer’s Workshop Curriculum Guide. Then see how Layers of Learning can change your whole homeschool into a happy, hands-on family school with the Writer’s Workshop Guidebook. We believe learning is about exploring! If you like exploring, you’ll love the rest of the Layers of Learning program too – history, geography, science, and art, all taught with your whole family exploring together.

Free Samples

Try family-style homeschooling now with free samples of four Layers of Learning units when you subscribe. You'll get to try family-style history, geography, science, and arts with your children.

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